It is well-known that the Arizona Cardinals plan to trade star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins this offseason. To many fans, it seems like a team will have to trade a high-value pick for Hopkins. However, taking a look at recent wide receiver trades, that may not be the case.
The most recent of these acquisitions, the Houston Texans traded Cooks to the Dallas Cowboys on March 19. Cooks has quietly been one of the most successful receivers in the NFL since he was drafted. Cooks’ six 1000-yard seasons since 2015 are more than stars such as Stefon Diggs, Davante Adams, and Hopkins himself. How much did the Cowboys have to pay for the 29-year-old? A 2023 fifth-round pick and a 2024 sixth-round pick. Hopkins is a year older than Cooks and has a very similar contract. At this point in their careers, Hopkins is clearly the better player, but the gap is not enough to justify a day-one draft selection.
Even more damaging to Cardinals’ fans’ hopes of a valuable pick in a Hopkins trade is the Cooper to Cleveland trade last offseason. Cooper, coming off an 865-yard, 8-touchdown 2021 season, and just one season removed from 1114 yards, was traded to the Browns for a 2022 fifth-round pick and a 2022-sixth round pick swap. At the time, Cooper was perceived as a better talent than Cooks but was still traded for less by Dallas. Hopkins has had two straight years with fewer yards than Cooper’s 2021 season due to injury and a PED suspension. A team pursuing a Hopkins trade may be taking a bigger risk than Cleveland took when trading for Cooper.
Teams trade early-round picks due for receivers like this. The Eagles paid a first and a third-round pick to get Brown in Philadelphia. Brown was six years younger than Hopkins. He was a Pro Bowler just one year prior, and that was likely not his ceiling. NFL executives already know Hopkins’ ceiling, and they know that there is a decent chance it has passed. A team such as the Chiefs or Patriots would probably love to take a gamble that Hopkins is still in his prime, but not for anywhere near the draft compensation that the Titans got for Brown. My prediction is that a Hopkins trade includes a fourth-round pick or two fifth-round selections.
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